A Message from Alex

Have you ever noticed the "Hungry for Your Thoughts"  link by the Lab Snacks icon on our homepage? This link is part of my commitment to building a company that achieves its competitive advantage from its connection to community.  I view the "Hungry for Your Thoughts"  feedback as one way for me to stay directly connected with the amazing community of scientists we are privileged to serve.   Hence, I have made a commitment to personally answer these e-mails, which have spawned many valuable discussions, ranging from research to product ideas to individual life stories.   I'd like to personally thank those of you who have taken me up on this invitation.

Since starting this initiative, I have heard from several famished grad students who depend on the Lab Snacks for an occasional meal. However, conversations that often begin with our Lab Snacks quickly morph into interesting discussions concerning the science and business of photonics. Now, more than ever, I view photonics not just as our core industry but as our community.

As the CEO of Thorlabs, I constantly reinforce our desire to serve at the pleasure of our customers. From this comes our desire to be connected to our industry in a way that far exceeds what would typically be expected of a vendor. Thorlabs lives this core principle by seeking to enhance, at every turn, the productivity of our customers. We have developed a culture that constantly seeks your input; many of you have experienced this first hand, as a large portion of our product offerings are customer inspired. Others may note that a website feature exists because you let us know that it would make you more productive.

A direct outcome of this customer focus is our utmost respect for your time. This drives us to question everything we do. It informs our product design, shapes our approach to manufacturing, and provides clarity for our customer service department. We constantly ask ourselves how we can make the entire process of finding, understanding, purchasing, and using a product more efficient. By saving you time, we enhance your productivity, which allows us all to foster the continued forward movement of photonics.

Thorlabs extends the goal of customer centricity to our product lines as well. Our product designers are encouraged to live the experience of our customers by participating in projects that have them using many of our catalog offerings. We have developed methods that capture the entire customer experience from identifying and sourcing the product, to removing the product from the packaging, to using it in an experiment, and to dismantling and storing it when the experiment is complete. Living the experience of a customer is an integral part of the design process at Thorlabs.

We have developed a culture at Thorlabs that constantly seeks your input. Thousands of our products are a direct result of your suggestions. Of our roughly 20,000 products, Thorlabs manufactures well in excess of 90% of the items that we ship.

Using information technology tools, we are able to weld several wholly owned design and manufacturing entities together into a cohesive enterprise. In all, Thorlabs has 15 substantial design and production facilities located in 10 countries throughout the world. Each location provides a local presence within the community it serves. These local operations allow for customer dialogues that better inform our understanding of regional needs and how they fit within the worldwide picture. View all our locations here.

I am honored to serve our community and to play a role in the work of tens of thousands of research laboratories through the products that my company provides. I am committed to building a company that achieves its competitive advantage from its fundamental understanding of the community of customers we serve. Thorlabs has grown into an integral part of the photonics community. I hope that Thorlabs will continue to foster the forward movement of photonics in cooperation with the amazing community of scientists we are privileged to serve.

Sincerely, Alex Cable Founder and CEO Thorlabs